Top ChoiceMonument in Gonbad-e Kavus

Mil-e Gonbad

A Unesco World Heritage site since 2012, this 53m tower in Gonbad's centre looks like a buttressed-brick spaceship with the cross-section of a 10-pointed star. Built in 1006, it's so remarkably well preserved...

Islamic Shrine in Turkmensahra

Khalid Nibi Shrine

Dramatically perched above a sea of badlands sit three small mausoleums. The most important commemorates a certain Khalid Nibi; although he was apparently a 5th-century Nestorian Christian, the site now attracts...

Monument in Kordkuy

Mil-e-Radkan Qarbi

Sitting upon an astoundingly lonely knoll with wistful views over the cliff-edged valley, this circular, conical-topped tower was built in 1020 for a military commander of Tabarestan's ruling Bavend dynasty....

Village in Golestan National Park

Espakho

Beyond the national park's eastern edge, 5.3km north of the highway, ridge-backed Espakho is a small, Khorasani village retaining several traditional-style mud houses, some lovely old trees and – most famously –...

Ruins in Turkmensahra

Sadd-e Eskander

This ancient wall once stretched 190km from the Golestan Mountains to the Caspian Sea; like its equivalents in China and England, Alexander’s Wall was built to keep out warlike raiders from the north. For the...

Village in Turkmensahra

Haji Qoshan

Locally known for being a former home of Turkmenistan's 'national poet' Makhtumkuli, the visually forgettable village of Haji Qoshan is one of the points where the vague undulation that was once Sadd-e Eskander...

Museum in Gonbad-e Kavus

Carpet Museum

This well-presented but very small museum exhibits seventeen 20th-century Turkmen carpets, labelled with dates of production and styles. There are also a few implements and some raw materials for the dyeing...

Ruins in Golestan National Park

Robat Qarehbil

Close to the Golestan National Park's eastern tip, this apparently uninteresting highway-strip hamlet hides a small, atmospherically ruinous Safavid-era caravanserai with small area of partly restored interior...

Ruins in Turkmensahra

Great Wall Fort #4

Around a dozen square-plan fort sites lie along the course of what was once the so-called Alexander's Wall. All are just muddy shapes rising above the flat agricultural landscape but at Malaisheikh Kingliq, 4km...

Islamic Shrine in Gonbad-e Kavus

Imamzadeh-ye Yahya

This large, ornate imamzadeh lies 4km southwest of central Gonbad-e Kavus. To the complex's direct west is a ragged area of wasteland that, viewed from the air, appears to pocked with bomb-craters. This was once...

Ruins in Turkmensahra

Great Wall Fort #6

Of the dozen or so amorphous remains of the former forts that was once used to guard the Sadd-e Eskander wall, this is one of the best preserved. It's 4km west of Haji Qoshan, some 500m north of the Gonbad road.